Date Effective: June 18, 2018
Updated: April 24, 2023
The University recognizes that many members of its community use names other than their legal names. For some students and employees, a chosen or preferred name may be an important component of their identity. Therefore, the University has established this policy which allows students and employees to indicate their preferred/chosen names to the University community even if they have not changed their legal names.
A preferred/chosen name is an alternative to the individual’s legal name as designated by the individual in University systems. A preferred/chosen name can include first, middle and/or last name. A preferred/chosen name may include:
- a middle name or nickname instead of a first name;
- an anglicized name;
- a preferred/chosen name that is used in place of a legal name;
- a name to which the individual is in the process of legally changing; or
- a name that better represents the individual’s gender identity.
A person’s legal name is the name they use for official government documents, such as licenses, passports, and tax forms. Any change to the legal name must be accompanied by appropriate documentation.
A student or employee may request that their preferred/chosen name be used instead of the person’s legal name in select University-related systems and documents as listed below.
An indicated preferred/chosen names will be used in the following systems and records:
- Class and grade rosters (for students and employees taking courses)
- Student or Employee Identification Cards*
- Learning Management System (such as Brightspace/D2L)
- Degree Progress Reports
- Student Conduct Records (Maxient)
- Online Phonebook Directory**
- Official Student Email Display Name
- Official Employee Email Display Name
- Directory information**
- MaineStreet Advising Center
- MaineStreet Student Services Center
- MaineStreet Employee Self-Service Center
- EAB Navigate
- Student Health Records (internal and external)***
- Reports and/or lists generated for academic purposes
- Responses to requests made under the Maine Freedom of Access Act
- Press Releases (i.e., Dean’s List)
- Employee business cards
- Social Media Sites
- Other Venues, as appropriate
Because the use of legal name is necessary for certain records and communication, both the legal name and preferred/chosen name are stored within University systems. Any request to change a legal name within the University systems must be accompanied by appropriate documentation.
Legal Names still appear in MaineStreet records and will be visible to many employees who can only search by legal name and not preferred/chosen name (this may change in future MaineStreet updates). Employees are reminded to maintain the privacy of students, and to use preferred/chosen names in communication when the use of those names is in alignment with the Name Usage Policy.
Legal/primary names will continue to be used for certain official University records including, but not limited to the following:
- Legal Documents and Reports Produced by the University (e.g.,, enrollment reports to the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment lists for student insurance)
- Applications for admission
- Student Account Statement (Bills)
- Financial Aid, Scholarship and Loan Documents
- Student Health Insurance documents, Employee Health Insurance documents
- Transcripts (Official and unofficial)
- Enrollment Verifications
- Degree Verifications
- Employment Documents including student employee documents
- Responses to requests from military recruiters made under the Solomon Amendment
- Employment Verifications
- Paychecks, W2s, and other payroll documents
- Benefits Enrollment
- IRS, SSA, and other state and federal reporting requirements
- Visa records (for international students)
Graduating students have the option of specifying the name they wish to be used on their diploma and in the Commencement Program when completing the Application for Graduation.
Official communications that require the use of the legal/primary name shall use that name; other communications will use the preferred/chosen name.
Preferred/chosen name change requests may be denied or revoked by the University when the preferred/chosen name is used to avoid a legal obligation, commit fraud, misrepresent, or otherwise violate University policy or law. Reports of such activity will be handled pursuant to University policies and procedures and applicable law. Depending on the individual and circumstances involved, this could include the offices of Human Resources, Equal Opportunity, General Counsel, the Student Conduct Officer, the Chief Academic Affairs Officer, and/or appropriate law enforcement agencies.
*A one-time waiver of the fee to update the Student or Employee Identification Card with the preferred/chosen name will be provided. Subsequent changes will result in an applicable fee.
** “Directory information” is certain demographic information the University sometimes releases to third parties upon request. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, students can request that their directory information not be released to the public. Students must do this through Self Service within MaineStreet or by submitting a “Request to Suppress Directory Information” form to the Registrar’s/Student Records Office. The request will be honored until such time as the student requests otherwise in writing. In the event that such written notification (or indication within Student Self Service) is not filed, the University assumes that the student does not object to the release of directory information. Employees may request to restrict the listing of their (legal or preferred) names in the online employee directory by contacting their campus office of Human Resources. Approvals will be made on a case-by-case basis. More information about “directory information” and FERPA can be found on institutional websites (located under Student Records).
***Certain required reporting of healthcare data, such as to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), requires the use of legal name.
If there are questions about this policy, contact the UMS Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success and Credential Attainment or the UMS Director of EO.